Did PM Modi Say India Has No Oil Refineries? A FactCheck

News outlets misquoted Modi as saying that India has no oil refineries, when, in fact, he said that we have no oil wells

Several news outlets led by wire agency ANI misquoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and have wrongly reported that he said that India has no oil refineries. While it is true that PM Modi blamed the opposition for not paying attention to India's energy needs, he had said that India has no oil wells. Modi made this statement to show that India currently spends lakhs of crores on crude oil imports.

News outlets, specifically wire-news service Asian News International and Times of India, have carried tweets quoting Modi to have said the following:

"We don't have oil refineries, we import crude oil... They (Opposition) never paid attention to it... Now, with the help of sugarcane, ethanol can be made. Our govt is establishing a network of Ethanol plant: PM Modi in Basti, UP"

ANI's archived tweets can be found here, and that of the Times of India can be found here.

Based on these tweets, several social media users started calling out Modi on his statement, stating that India has several refineries including the world's largest refinery in Jamnagar, Gujarat owned by Reliance Industries.

Also Read: All The Videos And Images Being Falsely Linked To Russian-Ukraine Conflict

BOOM reviewed the prime minister's speech made in Hindi and found that he made no reference to refineries but mentioned the lack of oil wells.

An oil well is an area or block from where crude oil is extracted, and can be both onshore and offshore. Oil India Limited, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Limited are among prominent Indian companies that are involved in Indian oil exploration and extraction in places like Assam, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

An oil refinery on the other hand refines crude oil into various petroleum products like petrol and diesel for various uses like transport and chemicals. Reliance operates the world's largest refinery in Jamnagar. Several other oil marketing companies like Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum too operate refineries in various parts of the country.

India is the world's third largest importer and consumer of oil, and has to import 85% of its supply from abroad.

Modi blamed political families, accusing them of not paying attention to the fact that sugarcane could be converted into ethanol to alleviate India's dependence on crude imports and can be mixed with petrol. Rather, such families have only used sugarcane to make sugar, and rigged policies to favour them, claimed Modi.

Given below is the text of his speech in Hindi and its literal English translation.

Original (Hindi)English (literal translation)

हमारे पास तेल के कुएं नहीं हैं. हम बहुत सारा कच्चा तेल बाहर से मंगवाते हैं. लाखों करोड़ रुपये उसपर खर्च करते है. इन लोगों ने (dynastic families) कभी ध्यान ही नहीं दिया की गन्ने की मदद से ज़्यादा से ज़्यादा इथेनॉल भी बनाया जा सकता है. उसे पेट्रोल में मिक्स किया जा सकता है. ये लोग गन्ने से सिर्फ़ चीनी बनवाते रहे, और नीतियां ऐसे बनायीं की चीनी मिलें और गन्ना किसानों दोनों को सरकार की दया पर जीने के लिए मजबूर कर दिया. आज हमारी सरकार गन्ना किसानों के हितों को ध्यान में रखते हुए इथेनॉल प्लांट का बहुत बड़ा नेटवर्क तैयार कर रही है.

India has no oil wells. We import a lot of crude oil and spend lakhs of crores on it. These people (dynastic families) have never paid attention to the fact that using sugarcane, more and more ethanol can be made and can be mixed with petrol. These people only made sugar from sugarcane, and made policies in such a way that sugar mills and farmers were at the mercy of the government. Today our government, keeping in mind the benefit of sugarcane farmers, is preparing a huge ethanol network

This statement can be seen below at the 39:40 mark.

What is ethanol and why is it important?

Ethanol is a biofuel that is popularly derived from fermenting food grain having high starch and sugar content, according to the US Energy Information Administration. In the US, the raw materials for producing ethanol is corn, sorghum, barley, sugarcane and sugar beets.

In India, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, ethanol procurements are mainly based on sugarcane-based raw materials, namely 'B-heavy' and 'C-heavy' molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar, and sugar syrup, and from damaged food grain unfit for human consumption.

Ethanol is blended with petrol (and other forms of fuel globally) for the purpose of vehicular transport, and the government has outlined an ethanol-blended petrol (EBP) programme. "Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme is aimed at achieving multiple outcomes such as; addressing environmental concerns, reducing import dependency and providing boost to agriculture sector", the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas says. The EBP policy, and sources of ethanol can be read here.

On June 5, 2021 - World Environment Day - Modi released the report on the 'Expert Committee on Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025', which highlights the various steps that all stakeholders would have to make for India to have E20 - or 20% blended ethanol in petrol - by 2025. This can be read here.

Vehicles too would have to be modified to allow for more ethanol-blended fuel. The USEIA report above states that Brazil - the world's second largest producer of ethanol - has cars that run on both pure ethanol and on various ethanol-gasoline blends.

Updated On: 2022-02-28T19:00:16+05:30
Claim :   PM Modi said India has no oil refineries
Claimed By :  ANI and Times of India
Fact Check :  False
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